Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101--VERY picture heavy post

updated to add:
I have received lots of questions....via comment and email and thought I'd share what the answers were:

1) Yes, you have to take the inserts out of the diapers. I just pull them out before I dump them in the pail liner. There are some Mommy's Touch Easy Clean ones that are supposed to come out in the wash, but I want to make SURE they come out and get super clean. Plus, I wash my hands anyways after changing the dipes, so who cares if I touch a little more urine :). Eric doesn't like this step (though he does it), so he usually gives the dipes a few hard shakes to get them out without touching them.

2) What about poop? Ok, poopy is interesting....While breastfed exclusively, the poop is pretty runny, and is all water soluble. So, you don't have to do anything except throw it in the pail. My mom did get me some bum genius spray, that's like veggie extract, etc to help with the smell, so if I remember, I spray that on them. But, since we haven't started solid foods yet (I bought some sweet potatoes to start pureeing soon), we don't rinse or anything. With Cara's, when she rarely does it in the dipe, it is pretty much one big clump so I just dump it in the toilet. If it is runny, I DO have a diaper sprayer, that Eric's school family gave us, so sometimes I use that, but it usually makes more of a mess than just shaking the dipe a few times, and maybe using a little toilet paper to get the big clumps off. I use the sprayer for tons of other uses. Spraying the dogs in the tub if they get stuff on them, etc.

I heard the hard stage of poop is first starting solid foods, like 6-9 months, it's like peanut butter. YUCK, not looking forward to it, but will deal with it when it comes.

3) While out and about, I use them like I always do. Now granted, I have kids that don't poop every day. They usually go every 2-3 days, so I have it pretty nice :). But I pack a couple diapers in my diaper bag. I do use disposable wipes (when I have them) while I'm out, but rarely need them. I'm usually at someone's house who already has wipes if I'm out and about. I have 2 kids under the age of 3, so besides playgroup and church, we are home a lot. I have 2 wet bags. They are like pail liners, with a waterproof layer, but smaller to fit in a diaper bag, and I prefer the ones that zipper close. That's where you put the wet and dirty diapers while out. Then I just dump them in the pail when I get home. I got one off ebay that I don't like, just stick with mommy's touch for pail liners and wet bags, they are the best I've found.

Original Post follows:

So yesterday, as I sat around folding clothes, which included a load of cloth diapers, I started to think, man, this is so easy, why doesn't everyone do it?? I have also recently had lots of questions as to how and why I chose cloth diapers (when I used disposables on Cara until she was 22 months old), and I wanted to clarify to some people that I don't do it JUST because it is cheap (although that was one of the reasons I first started looking into it--knowing I wanted more kids). I also thought (and was told by my husband who checks my blog each night to see what I've admitted about us for the world to see) that I haven't posted in awhile, and I'm going to start losing my loyal readers (Yes Chris B, this means you...your sweet wife ratted your blog stalking out to me last night!).

So, I thought I'd post some quick thoughts, and LOTS of pictures to show you what I actually do. I know when I was researching online, and even having LENGTHY emails back and forth with a good friend who has now #3 in cloth, I just really didn't GET it. There were so many kids, so much verbage I didn't understand. That is until I went to a consignment store in the heights that had a monthly cloth diaper talk. I got to touch and feel and learn and process what all the different things meant! I also, through another friend, found this cloth diaper board. They have an AMAZING post on new to cloth diapering. My favorite part is the cost comparison at the end. Please, if you have no other time, just scroll down and read that part!!

Another reason I chose to switch is the ingredients in disposable diapers. I know that most of them contain chlorine, among tons of other chemicals. With the average child being in diapers 2-3 YEARS, I didn't want my kids sitting in that any more than they had to. Plus, I just can't help but think that maybe this, among other things, leads to some of the rampant infertility that grieves our nation.

Ok, so onto what I do. I chose for the most part pocket diapers. These are diapers that are the most similar to disposables (besides all in ones). They have a pocket that you slip inserts into, that can make them less or more absorbent (depending on if it is nighttime, naptime, daytime, etc). There are tons of different kinds. I own BumGenius 3.0, Happy Heinys, Mommys Touch, SwaddleBees, FuzziBunz, Blueberrys and Wonderoos...I think that's it. My favorites change, but for the most part I like Bum Genius' for Micah, and Happy Heinys fit Cara the best. There is a great local store in Houston called Nurtured Family. I LOVE it, it's close, and I can see and try what I like. They also have awesome sales, and its where I buy my detergent.
However, I do have to mention that most of these are One Size Fits all, which is why Frugal Misty likes them. They started fitting Micah when he was around 9 or 10 pounds, which was around 4-6 weeks. And they still fit Cara (most of them). However, when you have a newborn, you need a separate newborn stash (unless they come out 10 pounds, Jenn!). My good friend Jenny let me borrow lots of her fitteds and covers, and I did use prefolds, those rectangle looking ones your grandma knows. But I never used or owned a diaper pin, now they have these wonderful things called snappis that hold everything together.
Ok, here is a bumgenius 3.0 unstuffed. The blue/white on the left is the actual diaper, the white thing on the right is an insert.

You stuff the insert in, and this is what you get. (well, you stuff it all the way, I just wanted to show you wher it goes) It works just like a disposable, it has velcro to hold it on the baby.

I also use cloth wipes, as can be seen here. They can be scraps. All of mine were free. A great friend sent me some off my amazon.com registry. I have received a few odds and ends free when I ordered a cloth diaper or something, and also, when Cara was born, my cousin gave me TONS of them. I thought she was crazy and never used them, until I started cloth diapering! :)

About half of my stash (maybe 2/3). It includes my wipes, already stuff dipes waiting for Micah (and Cara if sleeping).
And here's how you change a baby. You wait for him to give you the biggest grin so you can snap a picture. :) Oh wait, you don't have to do that, but that's what I do! I put him on the changing table. This is a SIZED fuzzibunz. I got 13 size small FB and Swaddlebees when I was expecting from a SWEET lady at church in bible study who overheard me saying I had switched to CD'ing (Cloth Diapering). She tried it and didn't like it, and just gave these to me. I cannot thank her enough (and yes, these are the ones that are pink and lilac and peach...but again FREE)!! I like the sized because they were free :) But for my own money I spend, I go for one size fits all so they fit longer!

You take it off and put it in an open kitchen trash can with a pail liner in it. My favorite brand is Mommy's Touch.

Then you put a new, clean (this is a sized Happy Heiny I got on clearance on Black Friday) diaper under baby's bottom (and try not to show his man parts for the world to see).

You then velcro one side...
...and then the other. Sounds familiar....
There you go, cutie with a clean diapered bottom. Here's a picture of how I store them. Stacked and shoved into our cabinet that is on the right half of our changing table. Easy to grab and change.

What was that you said about cloth wipes?? Oh yeah, so here's what I do. I have a wipes warmer I used religiously with Cara. I was a little weary about using water in it with the cloth wipes, but I read up on what other people used, and we have had no problems, so here you go (oh, and all dirty/wet wipes get thrown in with the diapers in the pail liner, and washed with the dipes). Fill your warmer (or a normal tub empty of the disposable wipes) about 1/3 full.

Add a DAB of baby soap. Since I was taking a picture one handed, I added a little more than I usually do.
If you have some kind of essential oil (tea tree oil, lavender oil, grapeseed oil), add a couple drops. I did this for picture purposes only, as I got one, our last, drop out of this little bottle of tea tree oil. I lasted us since abou 2 weeks before Micah was born until this week!
Swish it around a little with your fingers to mix everything up.
Add your dry wipes. I usually add them (slowly so the water doesn't spray out the top) and push them down until they are moist.

Then I turn the stack over so the wettest ones are on top. Then, when I use one, if it is really wet, I wring it out real quick, other wise I just grab and go.

Ready to use warm wipes :)

Onto the part everyone cringes over....washing the diapers. I'm just going to show my process....not debate all the issues ;) ok, so here goes:
This is the soap I use: Allens Naturally. You don't have to, I've heard people use Tide Free and Clear, etc, but I started using this last May, and love it. I use it on all our laundry, not just diapers. This box is $19.95 at nurtured family, and it's the first box I have bought since mid-October, right before Micah was born (you can actually see the baggy of what's left from the last box sitting next to it that I have been using up). Oh, and sorry for the bra hanging, didn't notice until picture is posted!! :)ALWAYS use less than what is recommended. I use a full scoop for normal laundry, and half a scoop for diapers. You can get recommendations from where you buy your diapers, the cloth diaper board I listed above, or the detergent company.
I thought I took a pic of the settings, but the first load you do with half a scoop on COLD with NO extra rinse. The cold setting gets the stains out...more on that later.

This is me grabbing, not touching the wet/dirty diapers. They go straight from there, to here. I never touch them. I end up usually putting my hand on the outside of the bag and turning inside out to get them all in the wash.

I then go put my only other pail liner in the trash can so that I don't forget.

Then you just wait for the signal that the load is done. Next, you have to do one more load. I do my 2nd load on HOT wash and rinse with an EXTRA Rinse (so yes, that's 1 rinse on the first load and 2 on the second load).

This CLEANS and sanitizes the diapers. And there you go, my routine. I wash every 2-4 days, depending on how many diapers I have left, and more importantly, if Micah had a BM on the first diaper right after I threw them in the wash or not! :)

I would love to answer questions and turn some maybe's into yes!! Especially for people in my sister's stage of life, no kids, ready to start trying, has extra spending money....Buy 1 one size fits all diaper a month (or 2) for $17.95 and by the time you have that sweet baby, you'll have a decent stash!! :)
Oh, I forgot to mention, you can throw them all in the dryer, which is what will happen today since it's raining on and off. But you can also line dry them (still throw them in the dryer for like 5 minutes to fluff them up when they are done), the sun is the best stain bleacher out there!


Clint and Meredith said...

I have to totally admit that I have been thinking more about this...after i swore to you that i never would. But I will never fold on the minivan issue...

Julie P. said...

you are my crazy, insane friend! More power to you girl!

Sterling said...

Misty, You freakin' CRACK me up!!! I am laughing over here!!! Can you here me??

Joelle said...

So, you don't have to rinse those diapers before washing them? Just wonderin'. I seem to remember my mom used to rinse hers before washing them... right after taking them off the baby, if I'm not mistaken. That was YEARS ago. I don't remember very well.

Valerie Cesari said...

That's neat! Thanks for posting this. Tony and I actually talked about that a few months ago - I don't remember if I mentioned that you cloth or not but anyways.

You make it seem totally easy!

Beware...I may come with more questions when I get closer to that stage.

James, Andrea, & Clara Smith said...

Do you not have to seperate the liners before washing them? What do you do when you are out and about (for diapers AND wipes) the other day we used 5 diapers while out!

I REALLY want to do this, but we don't have a washer and dryer yet, so I'm biding my time, but soon! Thanks. Your system seems very straight forward and easy!

Aims said...

I LOVE this post! If I weren't on my last baby, I'd be a convert!

Rebecca said...

Great post, I love it! Wanted to share a bit about the poop issue that I like to share at our monthly Babywearing/Cloth Diapering workshops at Nurtured Family. (Funny because THE POOP DILEMMA always comes up). Anyway, one of my toddlers was always very pasty (sorry) and I was not interested in scraping, spraying, etc. What I learned was that all solids that don't fall off into the toilet on their own can just stay there on the diaper, go into the hanging diaper bag, and go into the wash. That's because the first wash loosens all solids up and everything goes down the drain (really!). If you look in the washing machine, the diapers look totally clean. Of course, they're not - but all solid waste is gone. So, then comes wash #2, HOT, with detergent. OK - now your diapers are clean. I just want to encourage people that poop really is not an issue, and I don't find it worthwhile to remove it from the diaper (except when it easily falls into the toilet). Of course, if it's a mental thing, I understand. We do have sprayers for sale at the store, and also the Bummis Bio-soft Liners, which are easy to peel off and throw in the toilet. My main point to people checking out cloth diapering is - THIS REALLY IS SO EASY (coming from someone who did use disposables with her first two)! No dunking, scraping, or dealing with yuck - SO different from the 'old days.' Easy to maintain - and you save over $2000 per child! You go, Misty! Blessings, Rebecca from Nurtured Family

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